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WWII fallen Canadian soldiers honoured in Italy


‘Operation Husky 2013’ is honouring Canadian soldiers in Sicily, Italy, in July.

It’s time to walk their path, and honour their sacrifice. This month Operation Husky 2013, a non-profit organization, will be travelling with hundreds of Canadians to Sicily to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who contributed to the Sicilian campaign during World War II.

This July, marks the 70th anniversary of 25,000 Canadian soldiers embarking on the first independent role for Canadians in the Second World War. The Allied invasion of Sicily, known as Operation Husky, contributed to the liberation of Italy.

More than 2,000 Canadian soldiers were wounded and over 500 died during the four-week campaign. To this day, these Canadian soldiers have received little recognition for their sacrifice.

Steve Gregory, founder of Operation Husky 2013, leads the organization with hope to gain awareness for these Canadian soldiers.

“Canadians need to know about our history, and our military history is a part of our contribution to the world. Brave Canadians paid with great sacrifice for the achievements this country has been built upon.

“What does it say about us as a country if we forget them?”

July 10, Operation Husky 2013 will open the first remembrance ceremony on the beaches of Pachino, Sicily. The ceremony will mark the beginning of the symbolic march from Pachino to Agira and will include the unveiling of a new memorial monument to the Canadian forces.

 The second ceremony will take place on July 30 at the Canadian War Cemetery in Agira. There are 484 Canadians at rest on this site and Operation Husky 2013 plans to have one person in attendance for each of the graves.

Participants will be invited to stand graveside, representing a fallen soldier and answering in their place as a ceremonial role call is performed. In the evening, an event will include a concert by the ‘Seaforth Highlanders’ in the main square at Agira, which will re-create the famous broadcast made July 30, 1943.

Since 2006, the Museo dello Sbarco exhibit at Catania, a 20,000 square foot museum dedicated to the allied landing in Sicily, had no Canadian exhibit. July 31, the opening of the Canadian exhibit at the Museo dello Sbarco in Catania will take place.

The Canadian Ambassador will be present at the event. Canadian pipers will perform a concert and historians will conduct presentations.

Participants will march for 21 days, planting personalized soldier markers, along the way, to honour each fallen Canadian soldier. Each marker will bare its sponsor’s name.

The maple leafs on each marker are handcrafted by students in Canada, while the rest of the markers are made by students in Italy.

Canadians who want to make their mark can sponsor a personalized soldier’s marker by visiting ‘operationhusky2013.ca’.

After 70 years, it’s time their sacrifice was remembered.

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